campaign plank in poll bound states
of Maharashtra and Haryana, evoking a strong retort from the opposition, with the Congress saying the ruling party was using the issue to mislead people.
PM Modi openly challenged the Congress with restoring the scrapped law if it came to power and blamed the party for not ensuring proper integration of Kashmir. He said the provision had been used by the adversary to cause trouble.
“During a debate in Parliament in 1964, the country’s distinguished leader got upset… there was division in the Congress. There was a demand that Article 370 be nullified and there be a debate on this issue in Parliament,” he said.
“At that time, Congress leaders, with folded hands, had said that their demand would be met and Article 370 would be nullified in one year. But the matter was again put on the back burner,” said Modi while addressing his second rally of the day.
“What was the compulsion and what game was being played,” he asked, urging people to punish the Congress for it in the assembly polls.
Home minister Amit Shah said that it took a
PM with ’56-inch chest’
to do what Congress didn’t.
“No PM ever dared to take the decision. It was Modi with his 56-inch chest who made the move,” he said.
“Rahul Gandhi asks what is the connection between Article 370 and Maharashtra. I dare him to declare that if voted to power, his party would restore the provisions of Article 370,” Shah said.
However the Congress was dismissive of the BJP’s charge, with party spokesperson Anand Sharma saying the Congress never tried to
derive political mileage
from the wars it fought.
Attacking the BJP government over unemployment and economic slowdown, Sharma said “There are no sings of financial growth and employment generation in the BJP governments. They are using (scrapping of) Article 370 to divert the attention of people form main topics.”
Speaking on similar lines, Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot said, “Whether they go to Maharashtra or Haryana, they rake up nationalism because they have nothing to say on the performance of their governments.”
About the Modi government’s decision to scrap Article 370, Gehlot said, “The way they took this decision, it created a controversy not just in the country, but in the world.”
J&K Congress spokesperson Ravinder Sharma said the Centre will not be able to delay for long the restoration of full statehood to the state. He said the BJP has failed to justify the decision to downgrade Jammu and Kashmir’s status to Union Territory.
(With agency inputs)